Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Political Resolution , 11th Biennial Samajwadi Jan Parishad National Conference held at Jateswar,Distt Alipurduar,Pashchim Banga



The Bhartiya Janta Party has recently won a huge electoral victory in Uttar Pradesh, a big state, after single handedly forming the Central Government in 2014; on the other hand the leaders of this party in power have played a huge role in handing over the country’s politics to the capitalists. The irony is that despite changing and forming policies in the interests of the exploitative class, this party in power still claims to be nationalist. For Samajwadi Jan Parishad two interests are primary, the interests of the oppressed section and the interests of the country. Our party clearly believes that it is harmful in the interest of the nation to put the interests of the capitalists above all.
Crony Capitalism and Agriculture
Even the foreign policy of the Central Government is in favor of the capitalists connected to the ruling class. The Prime Minister visits countries which are economically weaker than us and announces loans worth crores of dollars to them. These loans are given only to countries where the capitalists close to the PM are signing agreements to make huge projects.
The big capitalists in the country owe 11 lakh crore rupees to public sector banks. The government is not taking any steps to recover this debt. When the last governor of the Reserve Bank of India demanded strong measures in this regard, his tenure in office was not extended.
Self sufficiency in production of food grains and edible oils has been one of the biggest achievements of our country which is due to the farmers.  But the capitalists are also behind attempts to end this self sufficiency. India has become the biggest importer of palm oil in the world. The ‘fortune’ brand company of oil run by Gautam Adani has been selling edible oil mixed with palm oil and also given the formula to other companies, which is the reason that the palm oil import is multiplying.  The companies of all major capitalists in the country have started agriculture in mega farms of thousands of acres of land  in African countries and govt. of India is signing agreements with these countries to import their products. When the prices of Arhar/toor Dal (pigeon pea pulse) were sky rocketing , Gautam Adani had  hoarded  cheap African  imported Toor Dal (bought for Rs 40/50 per kilo) in his private port in Gujarat and took it out when the prices rose to 100 Rs per Kilo. The import duty on wheat import from abroad was first reduced to 10% from 25% and then abolished altogether. The finance minister has announced that private companies will be allowed to do contract farming if they want.
The rising costs in agriculture have led to an increase of 26% in number of farmers committing suicide. The newly elected government has waived loans of small and marginal farmers which brings some relief. But at the same time, the top officers of Reserve Bank of India and State Bank of India have started giving statements against loan waivers. It makes it clear that the government doesn’t want to consider positively the demand to waive loans of all famers in the country.
The Government has turned a blind eye towards implementing the Swaminathan Committee Recommendations on support prices for agricultural produce. The committee had  recommended that the support price should be fixed at 50% profit on the cost of production. We should not forget that Narendra Modi had also promised to implement these recommendations in the campaign for the 2014 general elections. The SJP along with all the peasant movements in the country demands that these recommendations are not adequate and a parity should be made with prices and minimum wages in the Public Sector in deciding the price for agricultural produce.
Unemployment
SJP leader and economist comrade Sunil had said about rural employment that ‘Today India’s villages have become de-industrialized and there is no occupation except agriculture and livestock farming. Villages and agriculture have become synonyms. On the other hand villages and industry have become opposites. Where there are villages there are no industries and where there are industries there are no villages. This condition is bad and is a legacy of colonial times.’ An open conspiracy has begun to finish the sectors providing the most number of employment after agriculture- handloom industry, cottage industries, small scale industries and forest dependent means of employment. The law which actually implemented the theory that decentralization gives employment to more people with less capital was made completely toothless in April 2015. When actually only 20 products had remained reserved for production solely by small scale industries under the manufacturing policy. In 1977 the Janta Party Government had reserved 807 products for production solely by small scale industries under the clear policy of not letting big industries produce products which could be produced at a small scale. This policy was against the conditions imposed by the World Bank and therefore the list was repeatedly shrunk after 1991. With the inflating balloon of foreign currency and the ‘reform’ of balance of payment came with the condition that quantitative restrictions cannot be placed on production. Due to this condition of the World Trade Organization, on 1st April 2000, 643 products were removed from the protected list.
It is interesting to look at the list of the remaining 20 products which was completely cancelled to end protection of Small Scale Industries- Pickle, Bread, Mustard Oil, Wooden furniture, note-book and register, candle, incense sticks, fireworks, stainless still utensils, kitchen utensils of aluminum, glass bangles, iron furniture of all kind, rolling shutters, locks, washing soap and matchsticks. Big capital, aggressive marketing and technique which prefers machine over human labor will soon devour these small industries which provide more employment.
The policy of Central and State level government purchase organizations to buy products from small and cottage industries only assures demand for them, now there are also  initiatives to make this policy ineffective. Let’s take a look on the other side. There has been a history of changing legislation and rules to promote big capital. One of the prime examples of government changing rules and policies to favor its’ favorite industrial conglomerate is the then Congress Government’s decision to allow only the Ambanis to import raw material to make synthetic thread and disregarding the reserved list of fabric to be produced only by  handloom s. It is notable that these policy decisions of the textile and industries ministry made Ambanis the biggest industrial group in the country, and before them cotton cloth used to be cheaper than cloth made of synthetic yarn. The permission to produce synthetic cloth produced on power looms has made lakhs of handloom weavers unemployed. Earlier it was only permitted to make ‘plain clothes’ on powerlooms and handlooms produced different colors and patterns. This law was made in 1985. Then twenty two types of cloth were reserved for handlooms under this law. The powerloom lobby kept the law stuck in courts till 1993 and when it was implemented in 1993 the number of protected fabrics was reduced to 11. According to a reliable study today 70% of the cloth which is sold claiming to be made on handlooms is actually powerloom  or mill- produced. 
In India 30 lakh people have got employment in information technology sector while 2 crore people are connected to the handloom sector. 18th century French traveler Francois Pirad di Lavalle describes that people from as far as the southern end of Africa to China used to wear clothes woven on Indian looms. According to him just one port in Eastern India used to export more than 50 lakh yards of cloth annually.
Along with implementing a policy to finish all employments related to traditional skills, art and handicraft the government is trying to fool the public by claiming to run schemes to promote skills through training.
The government has answered in written in the parliament about Government jobs. Central Personnel Minister Jitendra Singh has stated in writing in the house that compared to 2013, in 2015 the number of direct recruitment in central government posts has reduced by 80%. The recruitment of SC, ST and OBC has reduced by 90%. In 2013, there were 1, 54,841 recruitments for the central government, which were reduced to 1,26,261. But in 2015 the number of recruitments is cut drastically from 1.25 lakhs to around 16 thousand. The number cannot be reduced so drastically without a policy change. In 2015, only 15,877 people were recruited for the Central Government. 74 ministries and departments have told the government that among ST, SC and OBCs  92,928 people were recruited in 2013; which goes down to 72,077 in 2014 and remains only 8,436 in 2015. Thus the overall decrease is 90%.
Employment in railways will not increase between 2015-18. The manpower of railways will remain at 13, 31,433. The number was around 15 lakhs on 1st January 2014. Around 3 lakh  jobs have been cut. Between 2006 and 2014 there were 90,649 recruitments. In the USA the number of central government employees is 668. In India this number is 138 per lakh and reducing further.
The recent report of All India Council for Technical Education states that 60% of our engineers are ‘unemployable’.  Every year 60 lakh engineers are prepared in India. Their educational fee has not reduced at all. If they are unemployable then it is the fault of engineering colleges. How have they prepared so bad engineers even after taking lakhs of rupees as fees. There is no comment on that. Now when there are no jobs in the market, they can start calling engineers ineligible so that the market cannot be blamed. If 60% of our engineers are useless, the institutions where they are produced should be shut down.
Black money and corruption
What is more laughable than the claim of the government to finish black money while it benefits illegally the big capitalists. The truth is that a long time has passed since the news came of many Indians having secret accounts in the Geneva, Switzerland branch of HSBC bank. The names of many arms smugglers, drug dealers, and corrupt politicians from around the world were revealed. In this list there were names of many big industrialists and cinema stars of India. The government of India should have taken strict legal action against these account holders after the list was made public, but because these account holders were close to the government it announced an option for them to declare the amount publicly.
Another list has also been made public of corrupt politicians and illegal traders, smugglers from around the world who have accounts in the country of Panama. After this news leaked, there were huge outcries in countries like Russia and Pakistan. In India despite names of the biggest industrialist and cinema stars etc the government has not taken any strict action against them.
The government took the huge step of ‘demonetization’ with the claim of ending black money. The value of the notes which were put out of circulation was 86% of the total currency. This step led to an economic emergency in the country. More than 200 people died while standing in queues to get their notes changes. Despite this the people who had undeclared money in these notes were able to change or spend them successfully. The owners of these undeclared assets paid their employees and workers months’ worth of advance salary and bonuses, changed it to gold and dollars and through petrol pumps, and did not suffer any loss. The opposition parties did not enter the policy aspects and depth of the issue and evaded effective action against the issue. As a result, the government was successful in spreading the misconception among the common poor people that this step will not harm the general public much and will harm the rich. The truth I that the government has not declared an exact number of the notes returned. SJP demands that the government make public all the related facts and should make small currency notes available.
When the Congress government was in power, the BJP benefitted from the movement to create a Lokpal. Despite this no effective legislation has been made for Lokpal.  A big part of corruption is the undeclared contribution to political parties by capitalists without revealing the source of the money. In this year’s finance bill, it has been made legal to not announce the source of this money and for it to be unlimited in amount. It is noteworthy that currently there is a cap on the amount candidates can spend in elections but no limit to the expenditure of parties and therefore the details of expenditure are not provided seriously. During elections the ruling party spends crores of rupees to buy each leader of the opposition party, therefore it has no interest in hampering the sources of illegal undeclared income, but is actually making laws to make it easier to furnish such funds.
Electoral Reforms
In the above paragraph  the contexts of acquiring undeclared funds for contesting elections and their uses have been mentioned. Samajwadi Jan Parishad is in favor of adoption proportional representation in the electoral process.
In India in each level of state/governance(like Centre, State, District Council, Block Council and Panchayat)  the mode of elections is FPTP (First past the post- the one who gets the most number of votes wins). The futuristic and popular mode of elections is ‘proportional representation’ which is already in use in 80 countries. The FPTP method is driving and increasing many weaknesses and irregularities in India’s governance and democracy. It is producing very dangerous situations in policymaking and change. Some facts –
1.      The Modi Government has got a majority in the parliament with the support of only 30% of the people. Around 60% population which is against it, has become powerless and with very little representation in the house. New developing  ideologies and organizations with small numbers find it impossible to reach the house and even keep their identities intact.
2.      In each state government of the country also, one small party has reached majority in this way with a small percentage of the votes. They also take many wrong and undemocratic decisions like the central government. All these minority governments make long lasting economic and administrative policies and programs with social- religious connotations. They promote extremist tendencies which often are deeply damaging to the country and society.

The party plans to organize seminars and publish literature on this issue.
The people who promote narrow and divisive views in Indian society, spread the ideas of the caste system, strengthen the religious fiefdoms, spread communalism to promote politics of vested interests; their politics is powerful today. If the politics of the weak and poor section which Samajwadi Jan Parishad represents gets powerful; these sections will lose their power and assets. We have to take this issue to the people. The interests of the oppressed and the interests of the country are connected and mutual. We will fight the politics of the rich classes with this kind of politics. We have to establish this objective firmly in our minds. Just like the Capitalist and Manuwadi powers have firmly established the aim of ‘Hindu Nation’ in their minds, which will definitely lead to the destruction of the country. This convention pledges to strengthen the politics of the oppressed sections to defeat the current anti-national politics.  
                                   Proposer  - Aflatoon , Seconded by Kamal Banerjee

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Open letter to Smriti Irani

An Open Letter to Ms. Smriti Irani

Dear Ms. Irani,

Thanks to your stunning performance, we, many faculty members from the University of Hyderabad, are compelled to do what we should have done in the last one month or so, but could not bring ourselves to – write, write about Rohith, write about our other students, write about the state of academics, write about ourselves and write about society at large. Our first acknowledgement to this therefore goes to you for revealing yourself and for bringing us back from grief, from reflection, from teaching and from various other mundane things we do as part of our job.
As we watched you in disbelief on our TV screens on 24th February 2016, you in a voice choked with emotion, again and again referred to the "child" whose death has been used as a political weapon. We were left bewildered.
At what precise point, Madam Minister, did this sinister, anti-national, casteist, Dalit student of the University of Hyderabad transform into a child for you? Definitely, not in those five rejoinders from MHRD between 03-09-2015 and 19-11- 2015 with the subject line "anti-national activities in Hyderabad Central University Campus"? Definitely, not when you chose to overlook and endorse what can only be read as extraordinarily aggressive and unfounded allegations by a minister in your own government, Mr. Bandaru Dattatreya? Ms. Irani, your constant reference to him as a child is nothing but a patronizing attempt to dehumanize his reality. It is also deeply disrespectful to Rohit's mother whose child he actually is - because she knows how ironic your appropriation of him is, considering your culpability in his death.
Only after more than a month of his death Rohith becomes a 'child' for you “whose death was used as a political weapon.” A political weapon by whom, honourable Minister? By the other four students who were expelled with him and who spent those cold nights out in the makeshift velivada, with nothing but each other for company and succour? By the other students and friends who stood by him? Because you definitely seem to imply that when you say this child could possibly have been revived and yet his body was hidden and no doctor or police was allowed near him.
By now incontrovertible facts have emerged that belie this.
However, we would like to go beyond those facts and appeal to your heart. You were not there that night Respected Minister. You did not see the grief or the shock, nor were you there to feel the despair. How could you even begin to fathom how desperate students were when they called faculty members and medical doctor of the University's Health Centre as soon as Rohith's body was found hanging by students and security officials? As Dr. Rajyasree, Medical officer has stated, she rushed to the hostel at 7.30 pm and declared Rohith dead at 7.40 pm, all recorded in his case sheet on that fateful night of 17-01-2016. The police arrived at the scene immediately after this. Iraniji, it is beyond our simple comprehension to understand how you with your meticulous preparation evident in the Loksabha speech ignored these crucial medical documents / preliminary evidences. This also includes the post mortem report that declares Rohith was dead at least 18-24 hours before the body was examined the subsequent day. From all the medical and post mortem reports, statements by friends, faculty, and university officials – it is clear that Rohith's body was found hours after he hung himself.
Not only are your claims factually incorrect but they point to an utter lack of respect and sensitivity for the grieving family, friends, and students. You are clearly disconnected from the heart breaking grief of his friends palpable to anyone present that night or the accompanying anger knowing the injustice that led to this tragedy. Does it befit our honourable minister to implicate these very grieving people in the death of their beloved friend?

Respected Minister, you have also repeatedly claimed that the committee which suspended Rohith Vemula and four other Dalit students was not constituted by your government, but by the UPA regime. You have also emphasised that there indeed was a Dalit faculty member in that committee.
We are astounded that you can so smoothly pass on the responsibility for this tragedy to someone else. Being at the helm of MHRD, we are sure you must know that the Executive Council's Sub-Committee that took the fatal decision to suspend the Dalit students from hostels and other common spaces, was expressly constituted by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Appa Rao, following five rejoinders from your ministry goading the University to take action against the Dalit students.

We may also point out that the two member committee constituted by the MHRD itself points out a curious anomaly -- the EC and its sub-committee is the very same body that recommends and ratifies – this simply cannot be.

Just in case your busy schedule has not allowed your attention to the following, permit us to point out further contradictions:

That this subcommittee was composed of all upper caste members except for one. We fail to understand how this one member is expected to overrule the will of five.

Most importantly, Prof. Prakash Babu, the sole Dalit member, was co-opted as the Dean, Students' Welfare and NOT as an SC/ST representative. Kindly refer to the constitution of the EC sub-committee in its minutes of meeting dated 24-11-2015.

That the EC sub-committee did not hear out the key stake holders or consider the counter-affidavit filed by the Commissioner of Police on 3rd October 2015 and simply concurred with the much contested Proctorial Board’s decision is matter for another enquiry.

Now let us come to the punishment itself. Let us think of the lives and struggles of the five boys who were suspended—four of them being sons of agricultural labourers and one without both parents. For them, suspension from hostel meant denial of food and shelter. Add to that, denial of right to access common spaces effectively amounted to social boycott in caste terms. Students who had surmounted unimaginable obstacles to reach the University were pushed back right into the velivada, the “untouchable” fringes of the village. Do you not believe that the administration should have reached out at least when Rohith wrote that 18th December 2015 letter asking the VC to provide Dalit students “sodium azide and a nice rope” at the time of admission itself? Ms. Irani, for all practical purposes, it was a cry for help. This was an opportunity for us to help this ‘child’ and we lost that opportunity. And, we have never heard you quote from this letter that was acknowledged as received by the VC’s office.

For a despondent, beleaguered Rohith, hounded and ignored by the powers that be, death was probably the only way to freedom and the limitless wonder and beauty of the universe that so moved him! Perhaps it was the only way out for someone as conscientious, brilliant, and reflective as Rohith was. This was Rohith’s assertion of dignity, a dignity that was not allowed to him or his friends in their lives. Their lives, in the words of Gopal Guru, mirrored social death, smeared with indignities of caste. To say that his ‘suicide note’ of 17-01-2016 does not name or implicate anyone amounts to gross opportunism and abandonment of moral responsibility.

Permit us to remind you dear minister that the VC did not think / feel it worthwhile enough to meet the grieving students on that fateful night. We are reminded ad nauseam of the threat that students posed to him and continue to pose to him. Students, who already had lost a dear friend, were accused by ABVP of violence, and this is important – students who throughout their struggle since those intense first days following Rohith’s death until now – have maintained their poise, their maturity through all their struggles and protests, have never resorted to violence. Could the Vice Chancellor of the University not meet and console them in that most vulnerable, heart breaking moment? Even when nearly 300 teachers requested the VC to come and assured him of a space to meet students along with them, the VC’s sense of authority prevailed over his sense of duty and responsibility. This was a defining moment Ms. Irani, when the VC could have regained his moral stature and humanity in the eyes of the students. He clearly let history slip through of his fingers.

Rohith is not there with us anymore. His four friends suspended along with him are, his larger group of friends in this University and growing group of friends across the country are. What we expect from you is very minimal. Do not turn this into a fight against students who have nothing to rely upon, no power – political or social, no connections, no money, not even a home. Please understand this -- the minority status you love to claim for yourself cannot in any way be equated with the state of disprivilege and dispossession that many of these students battle on a daily basis. All our students have is the hope of a future which education can possibly bring -- to quote Rohith “from shadows to the stars” Do not blight their hopes, their dreams. Help us ensure each one of us is sensitive to cater to their needs inside classrooms, in labs, in hostels, outside, everywhere. As teachers, as ministers we have much more to offer – truth, equality, justice, hope, and inspiration. Not melodrama.

The Prime Minister has extoled your speech tweeting “Satyameva Jayathe”. Whose Truth? We ask.

26-02-2016
SC/ST Teachers’ Forum &
Concerned Faculty, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad.

--
"Only when the last tree has died, and the last river poisoned, will we realize that we cannot eat money."

Monday, February 22, 2016

तब और अब

Now last but not the least, it is my bounden duty to refer to what agitated our minds during these two or three days. All of us have had many anxious moments while the Viceroy was going through the streets of Banaras. There were detectives stationed in many places. We were horrified. We asked ourselves, “Why this distrust?” Is it not better that even Lord Hardinge should die than live a living death? But a representative of a mighty sovereign may not. He might find it necessary to impose these detectives on us? We may foam, we may fret, we may resent, but let us not forget that India of today in her impatience has produced an army of anarchists. I myself am an anarchist, but of another type. But there is a class of anarchists amongst us, and if I was able to reach this class, I would say to them that their anarchism has no room in India, if India is to conqueror. It is a sign of fear. If we trust and fear God, we shall have to fear no one, not the Maharajas, not the Viceroys, not the detectives, not even King George.

I honour the anarchist for his love of the country. I honour him for his bravery in being willing to die for his country; but I ask him-is killing honourable? Is the dagger of an assassin a fit precursor of an honourable death? I deny it. There is no warrant for such methods in any scriptures. If I found it necessary for the salvation of India that the English should retire, that they should be driven out, I would not hesitate to declare that they would have to go, and I hope I would be prepared to die in defence of that belief. That would, in my opinion, be an honourable death. The bomb-thrower creates secret plots, is afraid to come out into the open, and when caught pays the penalty of misdirected zeal.

I have been told, “Had we not done this, had some people not thrown bombs, we should never have gained what we have got with reference to the partition movement.” (Mrs. Besant : ‘Please stop it.’) This was what I said in Bengal when Mr. Lyon presided at the meeting. I think what I am saying is necessary. If I am told to stop I shall obey. (Turning to the Chairman) I await your orders. If you consider that by my speaking as I am, I am not serving the country and the empire I shall certainly stop. (Cries of ‘Go on.’) (The Chairman : ‘Please, explain your object.’) I am simply. . . (another interruption). My friends, please do not resent this interruption. If Mrs. Besant this evening suggests that I should stop, she does so because she loves India so well, and she considers that I am erring in thinking audibly before you young men. But even so, I simply say this, that I want to purge India of this atmosphere of suspicion on either side, if we are to reach our goal; we should have an empire which is to be based upon mutual love and mutual trust. Is it not better that we talk under the shadow of this college than that we should be talking irresponsibly in our homes? I consider that it is much better that we talk these things openly. I have done so with excellent results before now. I know that there is nothing that the students do not know. I am, therefore, turning the searchlight towards ourselves. I hold the name of my country so dear to me that I exchange these thoughts with you, and submit to you that there is no room for anarchism in India. Let us frankly and openly say whatever we want to say our rulers, and face the consequences if what we have to say does not please them. But let us not abuse.

I was talking the other day to a member of the much-abused Civil Service. I have not very much in common with the members of that Service, but I could not help admiring the manner in which he was speaking to mw. He said : “Mr. Gandhi, do you for one moment suppose that all we, Civil Servants, are a bad lot, that we want to oppress the people whom we have come to govern?” “No,,” I said. “Then if you get an opportunity put in a word for the much-abused Civil Service.” And I am here to put in that word. Yes, many members of the Indian Civil Service are most decidedly overbearing; they are tyrannical, at times thoughtless. Many other adjectives may be used. I grant all these things and I grant also that after having lived in India for a certain number of years some of them become somewhat degraded. But what does that signify? They were gentlemen before they came here, and if they have lost some of the moral fibre, it is a reflection upon ourselves.

Just think out for yourselves, if a man who was good yesterday has become bad after having come in contact with me, is he responsible that he has deteriorated or am I? The atmosphere of sycophancy and falsity that surrounds them on their coming to India demoralizes them, as it would many of us. It is well to take the blame sometimes. If we are to receive self-government, we shall have to take it. We shall never be granted self-government. Look at the history of the British Empire and the British nation; freedom loving as it is, it will not be a party to give freedom to a people who will not take it themselves. Learn your lesson if you wish to from the Boer War. Those who were enemies of that empire only a few years ago have now become friends. . . .

(At this point there was an interruption and a movement on the platform to leave. The speech, therefore, ended here abruptly.)

Mahatma, pp. 179-84, Edn. 1960.

This speech is from selected works of Mahatma Gandhi Volume-Six

The Voice of Truth Part-I some Famous Speech page 3 to 13

 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Last Words of Rohith Vemula

Good morning,

I would not be around when you read this letter. Don’t get angry on me. I know some of you truly cared for me, loved me and treated me very well. I have no complaints on anyone. It was always with myself I had problems. I feel a growing gap between my soul and my body. And I have become a monster. I always wanted to be a writer. A writer of science, like Carl Sagan. At last, this is the only letter I am getting to write.
I always wanted to be a writer. A writer of science, like Carl Sagan.
I loved Science, Stars, Nature, but then I loved people without knowing that people have long since divorced from nature. Our feelings are second handed. Our love is constructed. Our beliefs colored. Our originality valid through artificial art. It has become truly difficult to love without getting hurt. The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of star dust. In very field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.
I am writing this kind of letter for the first time. My first time of a final letter. Forgive me if I fail to make sense.
My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.
May be I was wrong, all the while, in understanding world. In understanding love, pain, life, death. There was no urgency. But I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life. All the while, some people, for them, life itself is curse. My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.
I am not hurt at this moment. I am not sad. I am just empty. Unconcerned about myself. That’s pathetic. And that’s why I am doing this.


objects in mirror are (never) closer than they appear. (From Rohit's Facebook Wall)
People may dub me as a coward. And selfish, or stupid once I am gone. I am not bothered about what I am called. I don’t believe in after-death stories, ghosts, or spirits. If there is anything at all I believe, I believe that I can travel to the stars. And know about the other worlds.
If you, who is reading this letter can do anything for me, I have to get 7 months of my fellowship, one lakh and seventy five thousand rupees. Please see to it that my family is paid that. I have to give some 40 thousand to Ramji. He never asked them back. But please pay that to him from that.

Let my funeral be silent and smooth. Behave like I just appeared and gone. Do not shed tears for me. Know that I am happy dead than being alive.
“From shadows to the stars.”
Uma anna, sorry for using your room for this thing.
To ASA family, sorry for disappointing all of you. You loved me very much. I wish all the very best for the future.
For one last time,
Jai Bheem
I forgot to write the formalities. No one is responsible for my this act of killing myself.
No one has instigated me, whether by their acts or by their words to this act.
This is my decision and I am the only one responsible for this.
Do not trouble my friends and enemies on this after I am gone.
Expelled_students_forced_to_vacate_hostels
Chittibabu Padavala writes: Scientist, activist and Ambedkar Students Association leader Rohith Vemula was found dead in a hostel room on the University of Hyderabad campus.Suicide! He was one of the activists on hunger strike from yesterday on the campus against the illegal and demonstrably false case framed against them by the administration. Rohith went out of the tent to a hostel and hanged himself, leaving a suicide note. It was at the behest of BJP leader Bandaru Datttreya, the puppet VC started persecuting these students/scholars. This scandal was exposed in the media recently too.
Rohith was one of the five student leaders who were served suspension notice recently by the University of Hyderabad’s administration. A fellow activist says it is nothing but a murder. Indeed, it is.

University students gathered at the moment at Rohith’s hostel. They are refusing to let Rohith’s dead body be removed unit Vice-Chancellor is present.
Among us, younger generation of Dalit Marxists, Rohith alone is the man of action while most of the rest of us are either taking a break or retired. None ever doubted for a moment that it would be Rohith who would formulate and put to practice the right and effective political paradigm on central universities in Hindutva times. He embodied the rare combination of energy, intellect, principled conception of politics and open-mind among the campus Dalit leaders.
One of the reasons for which Rohith and others were persecuted by the administration is that he was seriously organising campaigns and programs to highlight persecution of, and discrimination against Muslims and worked to bring Dalits and Muslims together to combat it, on campus level. If these activists are not Dalits and their fight was not against Hindutva fascism, this false case and persecution of Dalit scholars would have attracted national and international attention and outcry.
I am unable to completely believe this actually happened and Rohith is dead. I still hope against hope that there will be another call cancelling this unmanageable blow to the student movement and also one that strikes some of us very personally. Legendary student leader Dr. Vulli Dhanaraju is devastead. He knows Rohith well and Dhanaraju says this shocking action uncharacteristic of and unexpected from somebody like Rohith must be to highlight the unprecedented and unacceptable things happening on the campuses and call national and international attention to them and to shake the conscience of the public, including the Dalit faculty on campuses. He also points that though suicides of Dalits students and scholars are not unknown, it is never Dalit activists and leaders who kill themselves. It is a first, at least in a Central Institute, he says. For the veteran student leader, what Rohith has done is a supreme sacrifice and not any act of desperation. There should be a case against the criminal VC and he must be made to resign.
I am unable to absorb the fact that Rohith is no more. Cannot say anything at the moment. The struggle is on. University of Hyderabad students are fighting. Support and solidarity to them.
I have been arguing for a long-time that the real solution to the suicides for Dalit students on the campuses – before the ultimate solution of the end to discrimination – Dalits should own up their untouchable identity openly and proudly and take to activism as Dalits. Now, here is my own friend and dear comrade, a student leader of national standing and achievement, a bright and promising Dalit Marxist, kills himself!! It is difficult to take. We will ensure that your death is not in vain, comrade Rohith Vemula!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DOES THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM NEED AN IDEOLOGY : Kishan Pattanayak

I have come to attend the 4th WSF as an observer and in the capacity of a member of the NAPM (National Alliance) of People's Movement, India) My political organisation SJP (Samajwadi Jan Parishad), whose ideology can be called socialism as modified by Gandhism, is not very enthusiastic about the world conference. Neither does it reject the WSF as wholly irrelevant or reactionary. A practical reason for SJP not carrying out a strategy to take part in WSF is that participating effectively in this conference is financially in this conference is financially unaffordable for the SJP. I have decided to come and attend because I can afford to travel to the venue and spend a week here. the next the future world conference will be held in far away countries. Going there will be beyond my means. I did want to miss this one. My curiosity is positive.
A few groups in India with whom I have good relations are mobilizing a resistance (Mumbai Resistance, MR 2004) to the WSF. They have some serious allegations against the character and compositions of the WSF. I cannot subscribe to these allegations even though a few of them are not unfounded. A brochure published on behalf of Resistance goes to the extent of alleging that the protagonists of globalization have actually initiated the WSF process with a view to taming the anti-globalization wave. This statement is either absurd or irrelevant. What is important is not who started and with what intent, but how the process in being carried forward, and with what outcome. Recent events in the world have shown that inspite of the universal discontent against Globalization there is hardly any organized, continuous resistance to the imposition of anti-people economic policies that almost all the nations are experiencing. Outside Latin America. people's anger against economic imperialism is nowhere reflected in the nations' politics. In such a situation of inaction any organisation or institution which brings together, periodically, critics of globalization from all corners of the world is doing us good simply by providing opportunities of solidarity. Critics my be just critics, they may not even be antagonists. The motto "another world is possible" does not deter them so long as the contents of change are not deeply debated.
The question at this stage is not whether opportunistic elements have infiltrated into the WSF. We have to search out whether some healthy, genuinely radical trends are gradually making headway and an international force against globalization is taking concrete shape as a result of the solidarity and interactions over the past four years. Is there a real sense of arriving at a world-wide consensus on radical policies which will inspire people of various countries not only to resist globalization but also to articulate the outlines of new economic society based on the principles of equality ?
The NGO Factor
The overwhelming presence of the NGOs, liberally founded by donors of rich countries, is a major source of worry, I don't know if NGOs of other perceived by radical groups as the agents of western capitalism. This is an embarrassing subject because so many of our deal and esteemed friends are part of the NGOs. This is an embarrassing subject because so many of our dear and esteemed friends are part of the NGOs. Perhaps they have to be kept there to impart a progressive image to the organisations concerned. Sometimes it may so happen that one or two personalities associated with a NGO are incorruptible and beyond reproach, but the bulk of the activities and managers belong to the average run to NGO cadre. The NGOs, by the large, have to function within the development objective set by the World Bank. When Radical movements are going on in the society, the NGOs may associate with anti-establishment agitation in order to save their progressive credentials. This is remarkably illustrated in radical situation when movements are totally absent. If the USA is supporting a military rule and there is no political force there to resist it, the NGOs also tend to forget about democracy. Globalization with a human face, capitalist development accompanied by programmes of eradicating poverty -this is the ideology if NGOs in the developing countries. Needless to say, some of them can easily be covered into agents of the establishment against revolutionary and patriot movements at crucial times. Therefore it can be said with apologies to those elements in the NGOs who are genuinely radical, that the resentment against the disproportionate presence of NGOs in the WSF is not without valid reasons.
It is natural for groups starved of funds to be suspicious of NGO delegates who spend money on their travel, accommodation and activities in a manner similar to what government and corporate delegates do. It may be asked if it is bad to have more money ? This is a serious question. Some organisations, like mine, may be inefficient and incapable of collecting funds for meeting the minimum needs of functioning effectively. But even the best of the organisations in a poor country will find it hard to make both ends meet if it has to remain independent, radical and uncompromising. The deplorable aspect of the fund of eminent NGOs, is that all the funds come from outside. The local society does not contributes at all. When the personal lifestyles and organisational expenses do not reflect any of the constraints of poverty that pervades all around, that itself becomes a source of suspicion, a potential for future compromises.
It is another thing that NGOs cannot be wished away. But their limitations must be kept in mind while coexisting with them. The NGOs may constitute the majority of the delegates to the WSF. But is there also an assertive minority consisting of the genuinely radical elements ? No doubt they are there, but are they visible, as distinct from the NGO crowd ? Discussion on environmental damage, gender inequality and racial prejudice are commendable exercises, and must find a place in the radical ideology. But the WSF will be credited with a special role only if it devises a strategy for fighting against the economic globalization of poor countries, which means fighting against the WTO, World Bank and IMF-against world capitalism in short. Is this question central to the deliberation and activities of the WSF ? Most of the critics of globalization who attend similar conferences are hesitant to clarify if they really oppose the WTO, and if they have a programme to end capitalism and its global integration. The euphoria around Cancun exposed that the concessions are granted to the weaker nations. In this context. the slogan, "Another world is possible" doe not hold much uttered first, If you go on repeating the slogan without concretizing the change that is visualized, it loses the original ethos. It may not mean anything after some time.
Failure of the Non-NGO groups
The failure of the WSF is the failure to initiate a credible process of formulating a strategy for opposing the world economic system. By not some economic goals should have been laid down and popularized. It has not even been established whether economic equality is a valid idea as part of the goal of drastically reducing the disparities between nations, regions and classes. If disparities are to be done away with, what happens to prosperity ? For prosperity without any limit means basically the centralizing wealth and production. Modern technology specializes in centralizing wealth and its production. So ending inequality will necessitate a radical change in the use of technologies. The leftists of the twentieth century, the socialists and communists could not resolve this dilemma. So they met a dead end.
The WSF will have to being where twentieth century socialism stopped. It not only stopped, it collapsed under the weight of unanswered questions and unresolved contradictions. It could not reconcile the pursuit of modern prosperity will the goal the economic equality. The lure of prosperity and modern technology is so great that successful socialists everywhere have bowed to the market and postponed the ideas of equality.
Organizing struggles is one part of resisting globalization, but the other part is ideological. If a party or coalition of parties is able to gain popular support and comes to power in a developing country on the promise of fighting globalization, how does it put this into practice ? What should a patriotic, anti-imperialist government do in respect of foreign capital and foreign loans ? If the goal is to achieve modern prosperity, the country may need more loans and more foreign capital. Then its dependence on foreign powers and centres of world capitalism will increase. Will the WSF advices such a government not to go in for modern prosperity.
Take the example of my own state, Orissa. It is a very poor and backward state, but it has rich bauxite deposits. Aluminum multinationals are ready to come and make Orissa a source of great wealth. Globalization has promoted the government of Orrisa to invite the multinationals. But the tribal inhabitants have resisted, and managed to prevent this mining in a number of cases. If they yield they will be wiped out. They will never get back a satisfying community if they agree to be displaced. Will the deliberations in the and government on this issue, but may not be more about displacement and less about mining itself. What has mining done to the people everywhere ? What has mining done to poor and backward regions like Orissa ? And what has it done for the powerful nations? A fundamental questioning of the basic assumptions about mining will raise new ideological questions. One of these is whether mining should be stopped altogether in regions like Orissa, at least for the present period. Critics of globalization may not like to debate on this. Every leftist inheriting the 20th Century mind-set will say, "Mining is inevitable". This statement breaks the barrier between rightists and leftists. It is the modern mind, addicted to the idea of great prosperity and centralized wealth, which unites them. Even MR 2004 which is opposing the WSF may be different on this question.
Why should mining be inevitable ? How much of the annual production of Aluminum goes to boost the war industry and the luxurious living of the rich ? If war and luxurious are not inevitable, why should mining be inevitable ? Can we not reduce mining to its one hundredth part? It mining is reduced to a bare minimum it will be qualitatively a very different thing. It may lose the cruelty and glamour associated with modern mining.
The 20th century radicals did not bother about this aspect because they tended to believe that you can use modern technology anywhere you like and produce great wealth and then distributed that wealth by using state power. This illusion has been belied, but no proper debate has yet taken place. We know now that we cannot acquire the technology unless the multinationals are willing to give it. They do not give it cheaply, so when we start using the technology, the mining process itself gives rise to so many inequalities.
In non-technical language, globalization means integrating the developing economies with the world's most powerful economies. This process benefits the powerful economies in a total manner, and it is they who take all the initiatives. Others either okay the proposal or seek concessions and moderation. Whenever the superpowers concede in a small way, it is considered a big achievement for the poor country. Is the WSF, or some significant part of it, going to take a stand NOT to integrate poor countries' economies with the most powerful economies ? If it does, it will have to give a call to the developing countries to quit the WTO. A debate on this is not yet on the agenda of the WSF.
An ideology for the WSF will be evolved if statements of policy are laid down in response to the following propositions :
1. We should advocate a policy of quitting the W.T.O.
2. Patriotic governments of developing nations should adopt a policy to stop asking for loans from the World Bank / IMF.
3. The whole world needs a civilization change, marked by the reduction of economic disparities between nations and classes. Towards this, the WSF should strengthen and sharpen the concepts of (1) small and appropriate technology and (2) self-reliant communities which will produce all basic necessities of life in their own respective regions.
4. There should be no global trade in articles of daily necessity that can be produced in every region. Even trade within the nation should adopt the economic philosophy of self-reliance of the communities.
5. Trades and markets desist from multiplying human wants and commercializing the basic elements of nature like air and water.
6. Mining must be drastically reduced so as to bring about a qualitative change in its impact on people and business.
And so on. The WSF should provides an atmosphere for the launching of a strategy of ideas and actions that will define a break with the old order the concepts that shaped it, " Another World" must mean another civilization. The same appeal is extended to Mumbai Resistance 2004 (Mr-4). We are not convinced that Mr-4 is armed with a vision that will replace the present global economy. Centralization of wealth production and the desire for limitless prosperity was the economic aim that inspired both America and the Soviet Union in the20th century. America has now risen to the status of a global empire, and the Soviet Union has collapsed. The peoples of the world, especially those of the third world, need a new philosophy of sustainable living and sustainable production. Without this basic component, socialism cannot be revived in the 21st century. So both MR 2004 and the radicals inside WSF are facing the same challenge.
KISHEN PATTNAYAK
Bhubaneswar
E-mail : patanaik_kishen@vsnl.ne

Friday, June 06, 2014

Concerned IT professionals' statement on hate crime in Pune

We, the undersigned express our deep shock at the gruesome incident of hate crime reported in the city of Pune earlier this week. A 28 year old IT professional Shaikh Mohsin Sadiq was thrashed to death by a group of people suspected to be connected with a radical Hindu outfit called Hindu Rashtra Sena.
Mohsin was reportedly returning home after offering namaz at a mosque on Monday night when he found himself caught by the mob. As is the case in every hate crime, a skull cap on head and beard were enough for the killers to pounce on him with deadly intentions. The city was witnessing bandh and violent street protests by Shiv Sena, BJP and other radical Hindu organizations in the wake of Facebook post(s) with allegedly derogatory references to Shivaji and former Shiva Sena Chief Bal Thackeray. The assailants were apparently involved in similar protests when they spotted Mohsin on Monday night in Bankar colony in Hadapsar area of Pune.
One cannot help seeing this incident vis-à-vis forthcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra. As a run-up to the elections which are due in a few months, an attempt to polarize the masses on communal lines with the sheer intention of electoral gains, as we have seen elsewhere, seems to be on the cards. We appeal to the state government to thwart any such attempts with alacrity while ensuring safety to every citizen; we also appeal to the people of Maharashtra to not fall prey to such hideous designs and uphold the progressive tradition of the state that has seen peaceful co-existence of various sects, religions and cultural groups with no place for hatred.
While offering our deepest condolences to the bereaved family members and friends of Mohsin, we extend our heartfelt solidarity to each and every member of minorities/disadvantaged communities in struggle to preserve the values of democracy, secularism and justice.
Sd/—
Neeraj Kholiya
Dhanesh Birajdar
Bharatbhooshan Tiwari
Nitin Agarwal
Vinod Pillai
Kamesh
Gokul Panigrahi
Rajat Johari
Ujjwal Barapatre
Kshitij Patil
Sanind Shaikh
Akbar Ali
Prince Shelley
Mohamed Shazad
Shaikh Asfaque Hossain
( For widest possible circulation )

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression's complaint to Delhi Police Commissioner

4 June 2014

The Commissioner of Police
Delhi Police

Subject: Sexual assault on women protestors by personnel of Parliament Street police station

We are writing to demand your immediate action against police personnel of the Parliament Street Police Station who were involved in assaulting and brutalising a peaceful group of protestors today.

The facts are as follows.
  • A group of people belonging to the Dalit community from Bhagana village, Haryana, have been sitting in a peaceful dharna at Jantar Mantar for the last one month, in pursuit of their demand for justice in the case of abduction and gang rape of four minor girls. Early this morning, a large force of policemen appeared at Jantar Mantar and tried to evict the protestors who were sleeping there. pulled down their tent and scattered their belongings.
  • The Bhagana protestors (including the families of the rape survivors and the girls themselves) went to the Parliament Street Police Station this afternoon at about 1400 hours, in order to present a memorandum to the officer in charge asking to be allowed to stay in Jantar Mantar since they had nowhere else to go.
  • The Bhagana group was accompanied by representatives of women's organisations, Dalit organisations and students' organisations. The mothers of two of the rape survivors were leading the group.
  • The group was stopped by some policemen at the barricade outside the thana. Their request to be allowed to go inside and meet the office in charge was denied. Some policemen on duty at the barricade spoke to the Bhagana group in Haryanvi and asked them to go back and not to make trouble. The women argued with these policemen, insisting on being allowed to go and meet the officer in charge.
  • While the argument was going on, some policemen started pushing the group back from the barricade, using undue force and targeting the women by grabbing their private parts and pushing their hands into the anal region. The mothers of the survivors and several women activists (including Adv Pyoli Swatija of Samajwadi Jan Parishad, , Ms Sumedha Baudh of Rashtiya Dalit Mahila Andolan and Ms Rakhi – of NTUI) were attacked in this manner.
  • At this point a senior police officer (in uniform but without a name badge) came out and shouted out - “Are ye aise nahi manenge - lathi ghusao.
  • At this, some 4-5 women police charged forward and attacked the women by thrusting at their private parts with batons. The women who were in the front resisted this attack and struggled with the police women. Several policemen were also in the melee and were physically attacking women protestors.
  • Several activists were taken into custody and held for more than an hour, after which they
    were released without any charge being made against them.
  • None of the police had name badges except one police woman (Suman D) who removed it after a few minutes. However, we are confident that we can identify most if not all the attackers by face including the officer who gave the order for the sexual attack.

You are surely aware that the acts committed by the policemen and women are criminal offences under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.

We demand that the concerned police personnel (including the officer who gave the order for sexual assault) be immediately suspended from service and charged under the relevant sections. An FIR should be filed and an enquiry instituted without delay.

We are shocked to see that the police personnel under your command seem to have forgotten the bitter lessons of December 2012, and are blatantly ignoring and violating citizens' rights of peaceful assembly and democratic protest.

We are told that much time and resources have been invested in training the rank and file of Delhi police in “gender-sensitive policing”. Our suggestion to you is: please do not waste any more of the taxpayers' money on these futile public relations exercises. Instead, please take strong, immediate and exemplary action against personnel accused of such crimes.

We look forward to a response from you. We will be happy to come and present you with evidence in support of our complaint.
(KALYANI MENON-SEN)

On behalf of Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression
Complainants:KALYANI MENON-SEN  (J-1229 Palam Vihar Gurgaon 122017) Adv Pyoli Swatija (Flat 808 Gaur Ganga I, Vaishali Sector 4, Ghaziabad)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Activist pay homage to Com Sunil

Press-release
Samajwadi Janparishad
New delhi 22 April
Shri Sunil , General Secy of Samajwadi Janparoishad and Editor of Samayik Varta breathed his last on 21st April 2014 of a massive brain hamemmorhage. He was a top-notch scholar of Economics, toping his MA. & M.Phil in JNU. Rather than perusing a brilliant academic career he opted to work amongst the Adivasis in Kesla, distt. Hoshangabad of M.P.
Along with Sathi Rajnarayan he organized a march from Kesla to Bhopal in which actoivists of Samta Sangthan (of which he was a founder member) the right to clean drinking water in 1983.
The success of this venture led to the founding of Kisan Adivasi Samgathan from the right to cultivate the banks of Tawa reservoir by displaced persons to a co-oparative- Tawa Matsya Sahkari Samgh (TMSS) which became a model for other like minded people in the country.
He had an indefatigable desire for work and faculties that allowed him to walk 20 Kilometers in the forest around Kesala to organize people and then write an article at night much after all his group had retired for the day.
Along with Kisan Adivasi Sangthan and Samajwadi Janparishad he was active in Jan Sangharsh Morcha, M.P. and National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM).
For the last 5 years he was actively involved in the Shiksha Adhikar Manch (AIFTRE) ALONG WITH Anil Sadgopal and Ramesh Patnaik as one of the National Convenors.
Nari Jagiriti Manch of Kesla and  Itarsi had succefully organized an anti-liquor movement to stop liquor being sold in their neighbourhood. Sunil was one of the motivational forces supporting this movement.
He had deeply believed in the  involvement and leadership of the marginalised people as he considered it to be be the backbone of alternative politics. Shining examples are the TMSS and Samajwadi Janparishad.
Samajwadi Janparishad, formed from amalgamation of other like minded movements had a program of publishing booklets on economic policy and the prevalent development model. In 1991 a movement for opposing WTO was launched. Sunil was at the forefront of this movement for building an alternative model and lived with his wife Smita , daughter  Shiuli and Son Iqbal in Bhoomkapura, an Adivasi village 20 KMs away from  Itarsi, M.P.
After the demise of Shri Kishan Patnaik, socialist thinker and his mentor, he donned the former’s mantel of touring the entire country and holding political dialogue with different peoples’ movements.
In his death we have lost a person who lived his life according to his ideals. Like Gandhi, he was a person whose entire life was his message.
Activists of Samajwadi Janparishad and other like-minded movements paid their homage at Lodhi Road Crematorium, chief amongst whom were Justice Rajinder Sachchar, Anupam Mishr, Prof. Satish Jain, Prof. Arun Kumar, Prof. Kamal Nayan Kabra, Ms. Manju Mohan, Prof. Rajkumar Jain, Prof Prem Singh, Kalpana Mehta, Ranjana Padhi and Chanchal Mukherjee.

(Atul Kumar)                                                               (Pyoli)
President, Samajwadi Janparishad, Delhi         Gen. Secy,  Samajwadi Janparishad, Delhi

Bharat Dogra's Open letter to Medha Patkar

Respected Medha ji,
Greetings. I’ve learnt from newspaper reports that you’re contesting the Lok Sabha election as a candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
While certainly there are some positive aspects of AAP and I’ve myself noticed the dedication of some of its activists, at the same time there are several questionable aspects of AAP’s quick rise to fame and success. Leaving these aside for the time being, I’ll like to draw your attention only to what Sh. Arvind Kejriwal said while addressing the National Council Meet of the Confederation of Indian Industry in Delhi on February 17.
As reported in the Indian Express next day, Sh. Kejriwal said, “Government has no business doing business, it only has to govern. Business should all be held by the private sector.”
Am I right in interpreting this to mean very little role for public sector, if any, and huge room for privatisation of essential goods and services?
Also, as the Indian Express reported, “Kejriwal clarified his party is against crony capitalism not capitalism.” Kejriwal “praised industrialists as the real engines of growth and appealed to them to become party to the revolution.”
Am I right in understanding that this vision is very different from what you’ve articulated all your life?
As someone who has played a very modest but at the same time very consistent role in supporting (as a writer) the various movements with which you were associated, I hope that I understand correctly that you are firmly opposed to capitalism and your life is devoted to finding genuine alternatives to capitalism.
Many who believe in alternative paths of development eagerly look forward to your views on basic issues. We look forward to receiving your views about standing in election as a candidate of a political party whose top most leaders has openly embraced capitalism.
With good wishes
Bharat Dogra
C-27 Raksha Kunj, Paschim Vihar, New Delhi- 110063
Tel: 25255303